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For Jack Capuano, 3-0 Islanders are far from perfect

John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders

John Tavares and Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders celebrate after defeating the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Satisfying? Sure. Satisfied? Let's just say Jack Capuano isn't quite letting his Islanders think their 6-3 win over the Rangers at the Garden last night and the Isles' first 3-0-0 start since 2001 is anything special.

"I shouldn't have to come into the room and say the things I did after the second period," Capuano said. "I'm pleased they responded, but we have to make sure there's some consistency to our focus."

There wasn't a whole lot of consistency to the Isles' game, despite the four-goal outburst in the first half of the third period. They were outshot 32-20 after two periods, including 21-8 in a second period that belonged to Jaroslav Halak and included quite a bit of hands-off play in the Islanders' zone.

But the Isles were tied thanks to Halak and a late turnover deep in the Rangers' zone that was converted by John Tavares -- similar to the early third-period turnover that Kyle Okposo converted for his 100th NHL goal to open the floodgates.

"You know, they came in with two losses in a row, so we knew they were going to be mad," Halak said. "They played good hockey the first two periods."

It's hard to say what this three-win start has been for the Isles, who kept the Rangers off the scoresheet on the power play but still had too many breakdowns and too little hard forecheck for the bulk of the game. Has it been strangely perfect or perfectly strange?

Far from perfect is how the coaches view it.

"This was the first game we generated any offense five-on-five," Capuano said. "I came in after the second and asked the other coaches, 'Where are we gonna get our scoring? Do we need to change the lines?' We finally started to grind it out."

With a 3-2 lead in the third, Travis Hamonic threw a hard dump-in around the boards that Henrik Lundqvist couldn't handle. Mikhail Grabovski did, beating John Moore to the puck and sending it back around to Ryan Strome. Strome fed Brock Nelson alone in the slot and the Isles were off and running, with Grabovski's pass deflecting off Kevin Klein's stick and in just 30 seconds later.

"It was kind of a surprise," Johnny Boychuk said. "We really had to wake up there. We weren't playing our game. Jaro made some big saves the first two periods and gave us a chance."

Capuano said the same, telling his players after the second that they weren't playing "Islander hockey." Truth be told, they haven't done that for some longish swaths of the first three games, but the explosiveness on offense and the steadiness in goal has covered up deficiencies that have plagued the Isles for the past few seasons.

"We have guys who play their roles well," Hamonic said. "It's definitely the best offense we've had since I've been here."

Perhaps the key feeling inside the locker room is that 3-0-0 looks good, but there's more work to be done.

"We got some bounces and it wasn't pretty," Halak said, "but it's a win. We'll take it."


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